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  • 1. Extravehicular ActivityOfficeEffective Teamwork:The EVA NBL ExperienceLori Crocker EVA Office NASA Johnson Space CenterFebruary 7, 2007 Lori Crocker 2/7/07

2. Extravehicular ActivityOfficeEVA Basics What is Extravehicular Activity (EVA)? Commonly known by the public as spacewalks US EVAs are performed in the Extravehicular Activity Mobility Unit (EMU) What is the EMU? An independent anthropomorphic system that provides environmental protection, mobility, life support and communication equipment necessary for a crewmember to perform a US EVALori Crocker 22/7/07 3. Extravehicular ActivityOffice EVA Basics What is the NBL? Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory Neutral buoyancy describes something that has an equal tendency to float as it does sink Simulates microgravityenvironment Allows crewmembers to work with tools in a simulation of EVA A significant portion of EVA training is accomplished in the NBL An NBL run (and sometimestwo) occurs almost everyday Lori Crocker 3 2/7/07 4. ExtravehicularActivity OfficeEVA Basics What is the NBL EMU lab? Lab repairs, assembles, and tests allthe EMUs that are used in NBLruns, and other types of trainingevents High volume work atmosphereproviding 3-4 EMUs per day Lab personnel help astronauts donand doff the suit for their NBL run Personnel monitor the NBL runs anddeal with any real-time EMU issuesthat arise Lori Crocker42/7/07 5. Extravehicular ActivityOffice EVA Basics What is the EVA Office? The EVA Office integrates NASAs EVA assets EVA space suit development/sustaining engineering EVA tools and crew aids development /sustaining engineering Flight / training hardware processing Mission integration Crew training As such, owners of the NBL EMU lab contract Why do you care about EVA, EMUs, or the NBL? We have learned some valuable lessons, due to issues encountered in the NBL EMU lab, on how to work as a NASA/contractor team to resolve issues in the operational phase of a project Turning around a struggling organization Importance of employee morale Criticality of listening to and communicating with working troops Lori Crocker52/7/07 6. Extravehicular ActivityOfficeBackground History The NBL EMU lab has been in place since 2001, and the same work had been accomplished previously in other locations (by the same employees) We began having issues with the quality of hardware that was being produced by the NBL EMU lab (henceforth called the suit lab) Hardware problems were being encountered while astronauts were donning theirsuits for an NBL training run, so the issues were highly visible Customers external to the suit lab began to lose confidence in their products Following a series of highly visible issues, NASA elected to have a temporary safety stand-down at the NBL NASA and our contractor implemented corrective actions at the suit lab Increased detail in procedures Retraining More surveillance (NASA Quality, Contractor Quality, suit technicians from other contractors) Corrective action input largely came from sources external to the suit lab, not thesuit lab employees themselves Lori Crocker62/7/07 7. Extravehicular ActivityOfficeBackground Results Issues continued Initially, production slowed down SIGNIFICANTLY due to additional paperwork Production later improved, but not to the previous level, and not withoutcontinued high-profile issues Morale in the suit lab plummeted I was sent as a full-time NASA representative to help determine what was needed toresolve the continuing issues Then what? Contractor reorganized Dedicated operations manager assigned to integrate across the organization andwork with external customers We worked AS A TEAM to address the issuesLori Crocker7 2/7/07 8. Extravehicular ActivityOfficeLessons Learned Turning a struggling organization around as a NASA/contractor team To understand what needs to be fixed, you have to understand what is wrong! Resist the urge to assume you know what the issues are, or to rely on whatsomeone else tells you Be a truly neutral observer Request feedback from ALL levels of the organization on what problems need tobe fixed to resolve the organizational issues You will quickly see that even the most specific issue mentioned falls into abroad, overall category Feedback in the case of the NBL suit lab was categorized into morale, inventory, work flow, external interfaces, manpower, and communication there were no issues, however small or specific, that could not be boiled down into one of these areas Help organization management understand your evaluation of the major categories of issues that need to be addressed Let organization management come up with the fixes whenever possible Help with specific parts of the fix where appropriate (resources, NASA policy,etc.) Advertise the successes of the organization (Early! Often! At the end!) Lori Crocker82/7/07 9. Extravehicular ActivityOfficeLessons Learned Importance of employee morale It quickly became clear that employee morale in the suit lab was dangerously low No one wanted to be there anymore Everyone was afraid of being shut down again They felt like the left out step-children of the facility (resources, floor space, etc.) Because the NBL suit lab was viewed as a training ground for flight work,promotions to higher levels were rare Morale was influencing the ability for lab personnel to concentrate Morale was causing a great deal of apathy among employees Improvements came quickly when NASA and contractor management spent timetrying to help Contractor management re-evaluated the skill mix required in the lab, and providedadditional higher level positions (and promotions!)A plan for maintaining morale when the operational phase is reached should be considered in earlier project phases.Constantly evaluate employee morale when you are in the operational phase of aproject.It is less expensive and disruptive to maintain morale than it is to fix it, and tofix the resulting issues! Lori Crocker 9 2/7/07 10. Extravehicular ActivityOfficeLessons Learned Criticality of listening to and communicating with the working troops Because the working level personnel had not been part of the solution, they had not bought in to changes in operation resulting from the shut-down There was the feeling that because none of their suggestions appeared to get instituted, that no one cared what they thought Because there was no feedback on the ideas, they thought they were beingignored, when in fact the ideas may have been considered or even implemented Incorrect information was being propagated throughout the organization and taken as fact because of the lack of information flow Visibility of NASA and contractor management personnel with an obvious interest in both listening and providing information opened up the lines of communication again If you dont communicate with all levels of your project team regularly, someone else will! And you may not like the messages they communicate Listening to the ideas of your working troops goes a long way toward their jobsatisfaction, and ultimately the organizations morale. Lori Crocker 102/7/07 11. Extravehicular ActivityOfficeLessons Learned Teamwork between NASA and our Contractors Because of award fee implications, there is often some hesitation in lettinggovernment personnel get close enough to understand underlying organizationalissues Ideas for NASA employees Make it personal I need you to help me fix this issue Make it clear that if the contractor fails, NASA fails No one wants to learn about issues for the sake of award fee considerations, they want to get the issues fixed! Make contractor management aware you want to understand the issue andhelp fix it, but you do not want to take over (respect their rights as managersof the organization, even though you have responsibilities to the government) Help get the resources they may need to fix the issue (it will be more sellableif the government and contractor are in lock step on the additional resourcesneeded) Make sure contractor management agrees, or at least understands yourperspective, on the things that need to be fixed Lori Crocker11 2/7/07 12. ExtravehicularActivity OfficeLessons Learned Teamwork between NASA and our Contractors (continued) Ideas for Contractor management Be open and honest with NASA on issues youve identified and how you wantto fix them Allow NASA to see the issues first hand without attempting to put your bestfoot forward Everyone wants the same thing, and that is to fix the issue, so find a way to trust each other and work together! Fixing the issue will have a much greater impact on award fee (positively) than NASAs awareness of the issues would have negatively. Lori Crocker 122/7/07 13. Extravehicular ActivityOfficeSuccess Story! So what happened to the NBL suit lab? Lines of communication between management and working troops reopened Philosophy changes were implemented Morale improved Open communication between NASA and contractor occurred Success! Continued teamwork to this day! The metrics speak for themselvesLori Crocker 13 2/7/07 14. Extravehicular ActivityOffice Success!80 570 7171 7070 460 616059 59 59 595959595555 53N ber of suits processe5252 Nu b o su an m lie5051 m er f it o o3473 3 4640363722 2 um3024201 1 11 1 1 1 1100 0 0 0 00 0 0 0 0000 0 0 O T 04 JAN 05 JU 05JU 05O T 05JAN 06JU 06 JU 06 N V 04 FEB 05 D 04 M 05 APR 05 M 05 AU 05SEP 05N V 05FEB 06D 05M 06APR 06M 06AU 06 SEP 06 NNL LECAR EC AR GGAY AYC CO O FY06Number of suits processed for monthNumber of suit anomolies for monthLori Crocker 14 2/7/07